Considering the other titles lately to make the transition, an announcement of free to play from NCSoft or Sony Online Entertainment might be welcoming, but hardly surprising. Over in Europe, NCSoft announced that Aion will be undergoing a change in publisher, to Gameforge, who will be taking care of transitioning the European service, and its community, to a new free to play model. Starting in February 2012, players will be able to enjoy everything* that Aion has to offer for no fee.
In order to combat gold farming, “starter” accounts will be limited to two characters and have limitations from certain chat channels and private trading. Former subscribers will have access to almost everything, sans the increased instance cooldown and limited fortress siege rewards. You can read everything at the F2P matrix. Otherwise, NCsoft continues what has started as a rather generous program for free players, offering everything but the kitchen sink to anyone willing to sign up an account.
This does not affect the North American servers, and there are currently no announced plans to bring such a transition to the states.
(Additional: Free to play matrix)